Colostomy Care

Signature Health Services can help with the management and treatment of a colostomy.

Colostomy and how we care for it

A colostomy home care program manages every aspect of the recovery, including physical, material, and mental health. In addition, the purpose of colostomy care is for the patient’s acceptance, learning, and adapting, such as skin protection and preventing complications.

A colostomy is a diversion of a colon’s end section through an opening in the abdomen to direct the stool outside the body and collect it in a bag. A person may need a colostomy if a medical condition impedes them from using their excretory system as usual.

Some conditions may require a temporary colostomy, such as:

  • Serious infections, such as diverticulitis.
  • Acute inflammation from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD.)
  • Acute colon injury.
  • An obstruction in the colon or anus.

Some conditions may require a permanent colostomy, such as:

  • Incurable fecal incontinence.
  • Advanced colorectal cancer.
  • Permanent removal of the rectum or anus.

A colostomy is performed under general anesthetic, using either:

  • Open surgery (laparotomy) – an extended cut is made in the abdomen to access the colon.
  • Keyhole surgery (laparotomy) – a surgeon makes three or more small incisions and uses a camera and surgical instruments to access the colon.

Keyhole surgery is a top option because recovery takes less time, and there is a lower risk of complications.

The patient will stay at the hospital for three to seven days while they gradually resume eating, regulate their bowel movements, heal their surgery wounds, and learn from a skilled nurse about living with a colostomy bag.

The stoma is the opening in the skin where the colon and the outside bag are united. It’s normal for the skin around it to be slightly pinkish or grayish. It is not irritation; it is just the skin healing from the cut. If there is an irritation, the skin will look reddish, and there will be itching, burning, or pain.

colostomy care

Some ostomy powders and skin prep wipes may help with the healing, but unfortunately, these powders and preps don’t help with some skin irritation. Instead, they can worsen skin irritation and lead to long-term damage if not used correctly.

Adjusting to a colostomy can be difficult, but patients can enjoy a whole and active life.

Diet: Patients are advised to have a low-fiber diet, especially in the first few weeks after a colostomy. After that, the doctor or specialized nurse will gradually advise returning to a regular diet.
Medicine: Many medications are designed to dissolve slowly in your digestive system. Therefore, having a colostomy should not alter the effectiveness of your usual medication.
Work: Once the bowel has healed, there’s no medical reason for not returning to work. However, it’s likely to take many months before complete healing. It will always depend on the type of surgery and the nature of the work done.

At Signature Health Services, we take an essential integrated team approach in colostomy and ileostomy care. Skilled nurses are beneficial throughout the process since they can teach patients how to manage and change their colostomy appliances and look out for complications.

They can also significantly help monitor colostomy care to assess for complications and plan for colostomy closure. A nurse can also look for complications like stomal prolapse, retraction, and parastomal herniation and, if necessary, communicate them to the treating surgeon for appropriate action.

picture of a colostomy diagram

For more information on how Signature Health Services can help with your healthcare needs, please call 1 (800) 277-8291 (option 1) or email

colostomy care

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